Christmas is full of traditions, including the story depicting Jesus’ birth. Some renderings sport sheep, camels, and donkeys with costume-clad humans for effect. The event makes us feel good, and it can be a great time of fun and family. But is there more to the story – perhaps stuff behind the scenes that would make it more meaningful if known? Let’s see.
First, the Son of God, born a son of man, has been around since our universe's creation (John 1:1-4).
Second, this Son of God had to become human for a reason: restore the relationship between Creator and creation by paying the penalty for the first humans’ rebellion, and crushing evil (e.g., Genesis 3:15).
But paying the price required someone who could live sin-free. God began to send clues about this coming perfect Savior through various prophets like Isaiah:
Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel. —Isaiah 7:14.
This Prince would be born in about 4 BC and eventually crucified as shown to the prophet Daniel 500 years before Jesus came to earth (Daniel 9:25-26). His birth brings God’s peace to those with whom He is pleased (Luke 2:14) but prompted the wrath of a man, Herod (Matthew 2:1-12). For Jesus’ safety, an angel told Joseph and Mary to escape to Egypt until Herod’s death (Matthew 2:13-15). But how would the journey be possible? After all, travel and daily life required resources, then just as they do now. Allow me to introduce the wise men.
To fully appreciate their contribution, we must go back to Persia 500 years earlier when Daniel had earned great respect and treasure. He was also well-trained in Babylonian arts, including astronomy. He knew when Jesus would be born and would’ve been familiar with Micah’s prophecy about Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2).
So, Daniel, the Jew who spent his life in Persia, had treasure, knew how to chart star movements, and knew where Jesus would be born as well as the rough timeframe. Therefore, we should not be surprised that Persian magi knew that Jesus would be the King of the Jews and of the alignment of the stars at the time and place of His birth. Daniel’s great wealth was likely the resource that funded Jesus’ trip to Egypt until Herod’s death. Our great God is indeed the master orchestrator who crafts all things according to His good pleasure!
And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. —Romans 8:28.
Are you interested in making a fresh start physically, emotionally, or spiritually? Perhaps in keeping personal goals? Join me next week when we’ll explore New Beginnings.
Questions or comments? Email email@example.com.
Blessings and peace,
Pastor Ron Braley, Northview Christian Church